GONZALES — Whether it's a sign of Beto-mania or a “Cruz” to victory, early voting was off to a galloping start Monday, matching trends across the state. Since there aren't any locally contested races on the ballot and most statewide races only offer token opposition to Republican candidates, it's a safe bet to assume that the federal senatorial contest has locals in a voting frenzy.
After two days of early voting, 983 Gonzales County residents have casted their ballot in person at the three locations open. Time will tell if that trend will continue or if it was just regular voters getting it over with.
Gonzales County Deputy Clerk Alicia Gill reported long lines Monday with people eager to make their mark on the 2018 elections. It was “scary” she said on how many people showed up. Based on recent county voting data, she was right to be surprised.
The 983 in-person voters and 327 mail-in ballots received represent 10.74 percent of the registered voters in this county. For comparison, the last gubernatorial election in 2014 saw a total of 1,664 show up in-person during the entirety of early voting. And all combined, 2014 saw 3,744 voters total that election cycle, for 39.91 percent of the voting population. If the trend keeps up, that mark would be completely shattered.
In the 2016 presidential election, 3,777 voted early with 401 early mail ballots received. The final total was 6,365 registered voters out of 10,753 possible, for a 59.18 percent total of the registered population.
Looking to keep ahead of the hoped for expected surge, the clerk's office ordered an additional 3,856 ballots yesterday. This is on top of the initial batch of 5,420. Gill said that some precincts were approaching max ballot numbers, which initiated the restock. The county uses an average of the past three election cycles for their ballot-ordering formula, and they add 10 percent on top of that.
This will bring ordered ballot totals to 75 percent of registered voters in the county, which is a lot based on the past anemic voting history of Gonzales County.
Early voting continues this week and next in Gonzales, Waelder, and Nixon.